‘Being vocal about a topic that is silenced too often.’

UWEC Student Advocates for Sexual Assault Survivors helps advocate for issues on campus

UWEC+Student+Advocates+for+Sexual+Assault+Survivors+vocalize+the+silenced+topics+of+sexual+violence+within+a+campus+community.

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UWEC Student Advocates for Sexual Assault Survivors vocalize the silenced topics of sexual violence within a campus community.

UW-Eau Claire Student Advocates for Sexual Assault Survivors is an organization here on campus that is committed to advocating and educating about sexual assault, consent and the rights of survivors.

But the community offers much more than that, as they also support the rights of women, Ashley Seidl, fourth-year elementary education and special education student, said.

“As an organization, we are not trained professionals and cannot offer any formal therapy,” Seidl said. “However, we can develop a support system for students and survivors.” 

This spring semester, the  UWEC-SASAS returns with a whole new board. 

Yoshi Gaitan, second-year English critical studies student, is president, Grace Dombrow, second-year psychology student, is financial director and Seidl is social media director.

Meetings are held every two weeks from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom. The organization’s social media sites — Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat — are available for people to message with questions or concerns for the committee.

Each meeting typically runs for an hour-long, but typically ends up adjourning early, according to the UWEC-SASAS meeting agendas.

“For me, SASAS has been an inclusive environment where I can come together with individuals of all different backgrounds and help educate our campus about the realities of sexual assault,” Seidl said. 

Last week’s meeting via Zoom began with upbeat music to welcome everyone into the Zoom call.

Gaitan spoke about events that had happened this past year to celebrate Women’s History Month.

She discussed powerful women who have made an impact in the female community, such as Kamala Harris being the 49th and current vice president of the United States. 

To add to the women empowerment the group had going on, they watched a short ten-minute video called “The First American-Born Chinese Woman Doctor.”

Margaret Chung graduated from the University of Southern California Medical School back in 1916, making her the first American-born Chinese female doctor. The video went through her struggles on finding residencies and internships in hospitals and how she made it out the other end successfully.

 The group also discussed opportunities for fundraising, like plant and bake sales. They made plans on having a movie night in the Woodland Theatre in Davies, and there are more details to come on that.

They moved on to playing a round of Kahoot, and the questions in the Kahoot were all questions regarding women’s history, including years and names of important life-changing movements for women. 

Dombrow said each member of the group provides a new source of resilience and empowerment for those who decide to join for the first time.

“UWEC-SASAS has provided me with the information, resources and confidence to be an active advocate for sexual assault survivors,” Dombrow said. “To me, UWEC-SASAS means being vocal about a topic that is silenced too often.”

Gaitan then brought attention to the email sent out by the Dean of Students in the past two weeks regarding a fourth-degree sexual assault case on the UW-Eau Claire campus.

She informed the group that if anyone needed support and love during this time, that they should not hesitate to reach out to her or other resources on campus.

Gaitan closed out the meeting by naming resources on campus for extra support, which were the Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault, Its on Us, Student Advocates for Sexual Assault and counseling services.

For any further questions regarding UWEC-SASAS, feel free to direct message the organization on any of their social media platforms.

Geiger can be reached at [email protected]